MLA Site Additions

  • The Maritime Law Association of South Africa was established in February 1974 as a result of concern among maritime lawyers and the shipping industry that legislation in South Africa regulating maritime affairs did not appear to be keeping pace with developments elsewhere in the world.



The 2019 MLASA Conference proved to be another successful event under the banner: “Trials, tribulations and towards the future”.

16 August

After a hearty welcome from Gavin Gitzmaurice (president) and Lerato Maboea (vice president), the traditional keynote address was subsituted for a “bingo quiz evening” which was an excellent ice breaker – followed by a much appreciated dinner.

17 August

The first session of the day was appropriately led by Mr Dumisani Ntuli, the Deputy Director General: Department of Transport.

His update on the Comprehensive Maritime Policy brilliantly set the scene for the sessions that followed.

The MLASA has developed a strong working relationship with the DOT over the years and is most grateful for the continued input of Mr Dumisani.

The ever present Captain Alan Reid then captivated the delegates with a practical look at “Investigating Navigational Accidents

Very inspiring and informative sessions followed from Mr Prasheen Maharaj (CEO of SA Shipyards) and Yinita Ramsakkan (of UKZN) on the Armscor hydrographic vessel and the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks respectively.

After the tea break, an uplifting presentation on the Litterboom Project in KZN  by Cameron Service showed what can and needs to be done to restore the health of our river estuaries.

Aquatic drones and “autonomous ships” were the order of the day for the following sessions (Mr Prabhu Naidoo and Captain Ken Ellam respectively).

Once again Captain Ian MacLean of Hill Dickinson solicitors entertained us with his talk on “Major Container vessel fires: contractual and practical issues”.

At this juncture, it bears mention to extend our sincere gratitude to Mr Maclean and Hill Dickinson Solicitors for their sponsorship which allowed for 2 young students from the Lawhill Maritime Centre in Cape Town to travel to and attend this year’s conference. This gesture further strengthens the ongoing transformation intuitive of the MLASA.

Post lunch, it was an honour for the MLASA to have Andy Pike (past president) present his new book about the Oceanos Rescue: “Against all odds: The epic story of the Oceanos Rescue”. Andy’s depiction of the event certainly made us proud as South Africans.

Another proud moment of the conference was the interview of Johnathan Webb (ex Shepstone’s lawyer) now heading up shipping at Holman Fenwick Willan in London. A very humbling account of his journey and experience, with him giving much credit to his South African mentors.

On the more technical side, Patrick Holloway’s presentation on IMO Sulphur Emissions Limits was a reminder to industry of some important compliance issues which need to be dealt with in the future.

The final session of day 2 comprised more of a workshop on Maritime Arbitration in South Africa. It was another privilege for the association to have one of the presenters Mr Mark Hamsher make a presentation. Mr Hamsher is an LMAA Arbitrator and former president of the LMAA (UK). Still with the arbitration theme, Advocate Alex Jeffery SC also gave a presentation on the benefits of associating with the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa should we elect to proceed full steam ahead with maritime arbitrations in South Africa.

This topic is to be further work shopped by the MLASA and its subcommittees with a view to initiating maritime arbitration in South Africa on a more consistent basis.

Gala Dinner

This year’s Gala Dinner had an 80’s Cruise Ship theme. A fantastic occasion of socialising and catching up. However, the highlight was Captain Roy Martin being this year’s honouree duly presented by Mr Andy Pike. Mr Martin is truly a legend in SA shipping circles and who has contributed greatly in his field over the years.

18 August

As always, the MLASA AGM was held on the Sunday Morning. This was dealt with efficiently and effectively by President Gavin Fitzmaurice. For further details on the business attended to, the AGM minutes will also be uploaded on the website.

Next year’s conference will be in Cape Town (or its surrounds) with the venue still to be announced. “Watch this space”


This year’s Gala Dinner had an 80’s Cruise Ship theme. A fantastic occasion of socialising and catching up. However, the highlight was Captain Roy Martin being this year’s honouree duly presented by Mr Andy Pike. Mr Martin is truly a legend in SA shipping circles and who has contributed greatly in his field over the years.


Updated MLA Conference Agenda

Pre-order form for “Against all Odds” by Andrew Pike





Yet another top notch MLASA conference was hosted by the Cape Chapter of the Maritime Law Association of South Africa, this time at Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa, Cape Town from the 31st of August to the 2nd of September 2018.

This year’s conference title was: “Navigating the grey areas and the high seas: Shipping in a world increasingly disrupted by innovation and technology and impacted by white collar crime.”

Friday evening 31 August 2018

After a warm welcome to delegates on Friday evening by the President of the MLASA, Edmund Greiner, delegates were astounded by the thoroughly professional presentation of Professor Haroon Borat (of the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town) on his study of “State Capture” in South Africa. This presentation set out how “state capture” had rooted itself in South African institutions in a relatively short space of time following a set modus operandi.

The dinner and drinks that followed at the Le Verge Restaurant were much welcomed and enjoyed by delegates.

Saturday 1 September 2018

The first day of spring was kicked off after a hearty breakfast with a welcome by Gavin Fitzmaurice, the vice president of the South African Maritime Law Association (and the incoming President for the year ahead). In particular he welcomed the Maritime LLM Students from the University of Cape Town who attended the conference for the day and whose attendance was generously sponsored by major maritime law firm Hill Dickinson from its memorial fund in honour of the late Ed Hicks.

The level of speakers at this year’s conference was probably the highest that it has ever been and delegates were honoured in session one with a key note address given by the Honourable Mr. Justice Richard Goldstone headed: “Is there an international rule of law?” Just the introduction of Mr. Justice Goldstone and his professional life story was inspirational enough but what followed was a real and engaging presentation of the importance of the rule of law both locally and internationally.

Session 2 was headed by Harmen Hoek from the Dutch law firm Hoek ten Katen whose presentation, although headed “Automated Ships, was in reality a most interesting journey through the Dutch sources of law including references to Voet and Grotius, often regarded as the doyens of Roman Dutch Law.

Next up was Michelle Linderman and Cari Stinebower both partners at Crowell and Moring LLP at respective London and Washington offices. Their presentation on bribery and corruption, money laundering, and sanctions, and the impact on shipping was an eye opener as to the extent that the USA and UK legislation may be applicable to international transactions regardless of where they are concluded.

“I will be back” could be the heading of the next session as it was conducted by none other than our “old” SA stalwart, Angus Stewart SC, now living and practising law as a barrister in Australia. Angus’s presentation on the giving of concurrent expert evidence in litigation matters was food for thought for the South African lawyers present. In particular as to whether this would be an expedient and practical option in certain technical matters. “Experts in the hot tub” was an apt title to this presentation.

After a lunch adjournment at the La Pavilion restaurant the next session was headed by Mr. Julian Clark, Partner and Global Head of Shipping at Hill Dickinson London office. Julian is a regular attendee at MLASA conferences and the older members may recall that he even sang at one of the gala dinners a number of years ago in the Drakensberg – a definite idols contender. Again another top quality presentation on “Cybercrime in Shipping” illustrating just how dangerous hackers can be to the industry if the correct systems are not in place or implemented.

Captain John David, a Master Mariner at Marine Professionals provided some light entertainment with his impressive collection of photographs from various casualties which he had investigated over the years. A visual treat to those who enjoy the cut and thrust of casualty incidents.

A very important session followed headed up by the man at the helm of SAMSA, its CEO Sobantu Tilayi. This presentation was an important update as to various issues which SAMSA was running with in the Maritime space. The MLASA is privileged to have such a strong working relationship with Mr. Tilayi who is passionate about SAMSA, the industry and maritime interests at large.

Whoever didn’t believe that a picture painted a thousand words would have changed their view after the presentation of Ken Ellam, the General Manager and Master Mariner at Solis Marine Consultants based in Singapore. His presentation on the use of electronic navigation data and incident investigation indicated just how useful electronic navigation date can be if placed in the right hands. An extremely accurate digital reconstruction of an incident followed.

Gala Dinner

After some free time and pre-dinner drinks the delegates all dressed up in their Gatsby styled clothing to attend the grand gala dinner at the Sauvage restaurant. The bright, bubbly and ever charming Ariella Kuper was the MC for the evening. By far the most important and emotional part of the conference weekend was the speech given by Siphosakhe Phakathi who was a recipient of the Steven Wallace Maritime Trust scholarship and having completed her maritime masters is currently doing her articles at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys. A talented young lady with her feet on the ground and a great future ahead of her was an inspiration to the delegates and an indication of the power of the youth in South Africa today when given the opportunity.

Gratitude was then shown by the MLASA by the presentation of an ambassadorial award to the Ed Hicks Hill Dickinson Fund (represented by Julian Clark) who had sponsored the day attendees to the conference – LLM students at UCT.

The business side of the Gala Dinner was navigated by auctioneer extraordinaire, Ariella Kuper, who ran an auction of generously donated items to raise funds for the Steven Wallace Maritime Trust – which sponsors the maritime law studies of previously disadvantaged persons throughout South Africa. The auction was a great success with an amount of R42 000.000 being raised for the Trust.

Another highlight of the gala dinner was the thought provoking presentation by Captain Nick Sloane where he analysed in immense detail prospects of moving an enormous iceberg from the Antarctic to off the coast of Cape Town in order to provide a solution to the water shortages we are suffering in the Western Cape. It looks like this would be achievable with Captain Nick Sloane at the wheel.

Other than that the evening was as usual a tremendous platform for networking, having a few drinks and letting one’s hair down.

Sunday, 2 September 2018


This morning was dedicated to the AGM of the association and included a workshop on the associated ship provisions of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act.

The AGM also provided a platform for a robust discussion on the future role and relevance of the MLASA and how it could improve in reaching its constitutional mandate.

Prior to the close of the AGM the election of the Exco members was confirmed and can proudly be announced as follows:

Gavin Fitzmaurice – President

Lerato Maboea –       Vice President

Sharmila Naidoo – Secretary

Tamryn Simpson – Treasurer

Edmund Greiner

Peter Edwards

Lisa Mills

Graham Bradfield

Peter Lamb

Pictures from the MLASA 2018 conference weekend will shortly be posted on the home page of our website together with copies of the papers presented.

A thoroughly productive year is anticipated and the MLASA Exco, its sub-committees and Chapters are eager to get going to continue the work of this important pillar in the South African Maritime sector.


The  seminar was,  to  an  extent,  a  follow  up  to  the  successful SA  Maritime  Industry Conference (SAMIC) convened by SAMSA in Cape Town last year. Perhaps  its  most  positive aspect was  that  the  broad  representation of  professional bodies participating allowed reflection not only of where SA needs to go to take full advantage of opportunities waiting for the maritime industry yet to embrace, but also to reflect with some satisfaction on the current state of the industry.

For more details on on the seminar, please find summarized papers presented by the various speakers.

John Hare – Report on Nautical Institute Seminar – April 2013


As part of the opening of the recent SAMIC Conference in Cape Town in July 2012, Professor Patrick Vrancken of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University presented a creative and thought provoking paper headed, “Local Perspective on the Framework for Creating a Competitive and Job Creating Maritime Economy”.

Click on the links to view the paper and power point presentation.

Address at SAMIC 2012